WHILE we wait for play to resume, and with the little bit of knowledge we've gleaned from round one, we're taking this opportunity to put the microscope on every club.
THE PRESSURE GAUGE Which coach is under the most heat?
This is Melbourne's Shutdown Report Card. >> LISTEN IN THE PLAYER BELOW
The biggest lesson from round one was…
There is still much work to be done before the Demons can return to their 2018 heights. Beating the Eagles in Perth was never going to be an easy task but any post-match review will discover similar problems to last season (defensive transition and inside-50 connection). They would've been pleased with newcomers Ed Langdon, who provided much-needed run, and Kysaiah Pickett.
What's their weapon in 2020?
Under Simon Goodwin, Melbourne's biggest strength is winning contested ball – and it amassed 25 more than West Coast. No AFL footballer has won more contested possessions since 2018 than Clayton Oliver's 772, with Jack Viney, Christian Petracca, James Harmes and Angus Brayshaw also strong in this area. They thrive on outnumbering their rivals at the contest.
What could be their downfall?
Nothing new: Melbourne simply must figure out how to turn inside 50s into scores more often. The Dees scored from just 38.2 per cent of their inside 50s last year – the worst on record – and nothing changed in round one with 17 scoring shots from 45 inside 50s (35.6 per cent). Too many of their entries were shallow and kicked to outnumbered forwards or a pack of players.
Who missed out on round one and what does it mean for them?
Melbourne's highest draftee from last year, Luke Jackson, was an emergency and will have to wait to make his much-anticipated AFL debut. Sam Weideman hasn't kicked on since a promising end to 2018 and needs to improve to force his way back into the side. Jayden Hunt and Tom Sparrow are others on the fringes of selection.
Which players could benefit from the break between games?
Nathan Jones (Achilles) and Christian Salem (glandular fever) had interrupted pre-seasons for different reasons and missed round one selection because of it. They are two of the better kicks in Melbourne's side, while Jones' leadership is always welcome. Aaron vandenBerg (foot), Braydon Preuss (knee), Mitch Hannan (groin) and even Harley Bennell (calf) will all have more time to recover.
Who looked set for a breakout season?
First-round draft pick Kysaiah Pickett looked terrific in round one, kicking two opportunistic goals and almost a third, when he hit the post on a set shot. Pickett displayed a very good feel for the game and had no problem adapting to the speed. He's just what the doctor ordered for Melbourne's forward line.
There were extended negotiations last year before former captain Nathan Jones was locked in for this season and he's one to watch again. Jack Viney is also a free agent and there is interest in his situation after his demotion from the captaincy. Other Demons without deals beyond 2020 include Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald and Bayley Fritsch, although the latter was close to re-signing before the AFL's freeze on contracts.